Bidfood is set to sell directly to consumers for the first time.
The foodservice giant has launched Catering2You.co.uk, a standalone online marketplace aimed at small businesses, event organisers and consumers looking to buy in bulk.
The wholesaler said the launch was driven by changing buying behaviours, with high street and destination stores becoming less influential, and the rise of online platforms instead dominating how users research and buy products. The new venture sees it move into a space also targeted by Amazon.
The site is to feature an initial selection of 900 lines, including store cupboard essentials, drinks and snacks, beer and wine and non-food products.
Products range from catering sizes of blue roll and cling film to hot chocolate powder and breakfast cereal.
The site is already live and is due to begin taking orders this week. A banner message on the site this week said: ‘We are busy getting a few more features ready.’
Catering2You is currently operating from one Bidfood facility in Chepstow, south Wales. Rather than using its existing distribution network, Bidfood will dispatch products for next-day delivery by courier. Orders need to be placed before 2pm on Monday to Friday for next-day delivery, while orders made at the weekend will be delivered on Tuesdays.
Users do not have to sign up to long-term contracts or commit to regular orders.
The new site does not carry any Bidfood branding.
“We are in an interesting phase in the development of the market, and there is no doubt that the digital channel will become more important over the coming years, especially as the millennial generation become more influential in the customer base,” said Bidfood CEO Andrew Selley.
In a separate move, Bidfood is set to become a third-party seller on Amazon for the first time this month as it partners with the online giant via Amazon Business.
Bidfood will use the ‘fulfilment by Amazon’ service enabling non-food items, packaging and dry grocery products to be sold via Prime.
“We are keen to work with Amazon and play a part in that journey of learning and development,” said Selley.